Heart disease deaths down significantly in Canada

Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:28pm EDT
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By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Canada's death rate from cardiovascular disease dropped by nearly one third over a decade, in large part due to improved heart attack survival, a new study finds.

Researchers found that between 1994 and 2004, the national rate of death from cardiovascular causes -- including heart attack, heart failure and stroke -- fell by 30 percent.

A driving force was the 38 percent decline in heart attack deaths, according to findings published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Deaths from stroke and heart failure also dropped, by 28 percent and

23 percent, respectively.

"The decline is likely explained in part by better prevention and in part by better treatments," Dr. Jack V. Tu, a researcher at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, told Reuters Health.

Fewer Canadians are smoking now compared with a decade ago, Tu noted, and there is greater awareness of and better control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

At the same time, there have been advances in treatment -- such as higher rates and more timely use of angioplasty and clot-busting drugs to stop heart attacks in progress.   Continued...